I've been reading the boards here for a while and finally decided to actually make an account. Seeing some of the great advice other people have gotten in the past, I thought I might run some of my ideas by you all. My goal is to build a pretty high quality desktop for primarily 3D modelling, sculpting, and rendering with Blender, and other open source "art" production software. I will also be using it for CAD (Solidworks specifically) as well as potentially some programming. Lastly, although the first things probably already require better hardware anyway, I would like it to be somewhat future proofed for gaming for the next 4-6 years hopefully.
So, after following some discussions here and elsewhere on the internet, as well as doing some of my own research, this is what I have come up with:
Motherboard: BIOSTAR TZ77XE3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS (I originally looked at the Biostar TZ77B which is $30 less, but newegg is offering a combo of this MoBo with the CPU below for $20 off)
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000
CPU Cooling: LOGISYS Computer IC231PWM 100mm Hydro Bearing Theta 31 CPU Cooler (I really don't know much about non-included cooling except that its pretty much a given for overclocking, which I think I would like to do.)
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-16GBXL (Fairly cheap so I was looking at the 16GB options even if it might be somewhat overkill. There are a ton of very similar options at similar prices, so I just picked one with good reviews. There is an "identical" set by Corsair for $5 more)
1. Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
2. Western Digital Caviar Blue WD7500AALX 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (Not sure which one I prefer, I don't know if I need so much space (in addition to an SSD), although the 750GB is only $10 more anyway.)
1. Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ($115- Not the most consistent reviews)
2. SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)($139-Better reviews but pretty much same technical details. Based on failure stories it seems like an SSD is a good place to put in a little more money for higher quality. My intent would be to use the SSD for Windows as well as commonly used programs.)
Wireless Card: Rosewill RNX-N180PCe Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g/n PCI Express Revision 1.1 Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-bit WEP (Hex & ASCII), WPA(TKIP with IEEE 802.1x), WPA2(AES with IEEE 802.1x)
I don't really know what my internet future will look like, but I figure with $16.99 for what looks to be a nice, reliable wireless card, I may as well cover my bases.
PSU: I currently have, from an old desktop that has been a footrest for ~4 years, a 530W PSU which I don't know the model or manufacturer of. I'm guessing I should probably just go for a new one, but I'm not exactly sure what to be looking for in terms of compatibility.
Case: I have what I believe is a mid tower ATX case. It seems to fit the current MoBo and components pretty well, but only has one side fan. In terms of a new case I don't want anything flashy or fancy, but how much/what kind of fan set up should I be looking at?
Optical Drive: My current computer has what I believe to be a fairly generic (although ~4 year old) DVD R/W drive a DVD R drive, and a floppy disk drive! I'm assuming that DVD drive technology hasn't changed much and I will be fine to harvest the DVD R/W drive for the new system.
GPU: This is probably my biggest hang-up. To be able to use Blender's Cycles rendering engine, I will need a Nvidia GPU which helps narrow down the search somewhat, but other than looking for lots of memory, high clock speed, and lots of CUDA cores, I'm not really sure about a lot of the specifics.
1. EVGA 015-P3-1480-KR GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($250)
2. Galaxy 57NKH3HS4GXK GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($265 w/ rebate)
3. EVGA 012-P3-1571-AR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($285 w/ rebate)
4. Galaxy 57NKH3DH5PXK MDT X4 GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Multi-Display Video Card ($299.99 w/ rebate, the beast of the pack)
5. EVGA 012-P3-1571-RX GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($245 refurbished, seemingly a great deal)
Monitor: I have a decent monitor already so I'll save some money for the short term
Mouse/Keyboard: I just got a nice simple keyboard, and I may replace my quite old mouse with a new basic <$10 mouse, but I don't think there can be too much discussion around cheap wired mice
I believe I got everything, at least I hope I did. I have links available, but didn't want to add them right away as this will be my first post, all the prices are from Newegg anyway. I would really love some advice in terms of system compatibility as that is one thing I'm worried about. I listed a number of components that I think would be appropriate, but I would be grateful if there are better and/or cheaper alternatives that I missed. In general I would just love any tips, advice, or insight from those who are much more experienced than I am. As a last note, I intend to use Windows 7 as my OS (I can get a license somewhat cheaply), but I am open to the idea of trying out a Linux distro. Would it be possible to dual boot W7 and Linux from an SSD/HDD?
Thanks so much for your help, and let me know if I need to clarify anything. (So much for not making a massive wall of text out of my first post